Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker – Review
This was the first ice cream maker that I ever bought and I am still in love with it to this day. It makes excellent dense and creamy ice cream with little overrun, allows you to make up to 1.5 litres at a time, and is reasonably priced
The all impressive 2 litre bowl
The Cuisinart ICE-30 comes in a nice stainless steel finish. It comes with a large 2 litre removable bowl and a plastic dasher. The 2 litre bowl is the largest of any domestic ice cream maker and allows you to make up to 1.5 litres of ice cream at a time. I recommend churning no more than about a litre at a time as the more mix there is in the bowl, the longer it will take to freeze. The longer the ice cream takes to freeze, the larger the ice crystals are likely to grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.
Before you can start making ice cream, you have to freeze the bowl overnight. Cuisinart states that the bowl be frozen for at least 12 hours but I recommend leaving the bowl in the freezer overnight to ensure that it has fully frozen. The large 2 litre bowl can be both a blessing and a curse as it takes up a lot of space in your freezer. It is a good idea to check before you buy the machine that your freezer is big enough to accommodate the bowl; the bowl measures 7-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.
It is also very important to get your freezer as cold as it will possibly go when freezing the bowl. This is because the colder you can get the bowl, the faster it will freeze your ice cream mix. The faster you freeze your mix, the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be and the creamier the texture.
I set my freezer to ‘super freeze’, which gets the temperature down to about -27°C. It takes about 18 minutes to freeze the mix when I set my freezer to -27°C, and about 20-25 minutes when I set it to -18°C. This is very impressive for a domestic machine as professional ice cream makers take around 8 minutes to freeze a mix.
A good way of checking whether the bowl has been properly frozen is to shake it. If you can hear anything gushing around, it means that the freezing gel in the bowl is not fully frozen. In this case, you need to put the bowl back in the freezer. It is important that you avoid churning your ice cream when the bowl has not been properly frozen as it will come out wet and slushy. If you have frozen the bowl overnight and it is still makes the gushing sound after you shake it, it is probably because the temperature in your freezer is too high.
If you want to avoid having to freeze the bowl before you can make ice cream, the new Cuisinart ICE-100 ice cream maker is a good, albeit more expensive, alternative. It comes with an in-built compressor, which means that the machine itself freezes the bowl. This allows you to make batch after batch after batch as the bowl doesn’t have to be frozen overnight. In my opinion, the ICE-30 makes better ice cream than any machine with an in-built compressor and I really do not think it is necessary spending the extra money.
Emptying and Cleaning
It is very easy to empty the ice cream into a container using a plastic or wooden spoon once the machine has finished churning. The size of the bowl also makes cleaning very easy. The machine itself can also be cleaned using a damp cloth or sponge. It is a good idea to leave the bowl to warm up at room temperature to warm up before cleaning with warm soapy water. I am not sure whether the bowl is dish washer safe but I would recommend using a good old washing up sponge with soapy water.
The ice cream dasher
The machine comes with a large, and extremely durable, plastic ice cream dasher. Unlike other machines where the motor rotates the dasher, the motor on the Cuisinart rotates the bowl. This avoids the all too familiar problem encountered on some machines where the dasher becomes stuck and stops spinning when the mix starts to harden. I encountered this problem both on the Andrew James Professional Ice Cream Maker and the Cuisinart ICE-50.
The dasher incorporates between 20 and 30% air into the mix during the churning process, producing a very dense and creamy ice cream. Super premium ice creams have about 30% air incorporated, whilst economy ice creams can have as much as 100% air, giving them a light and fluffy texture that melts quickly in the mouth. I really like the dense and creamy ice cream that is produced using this machine.
Although incorporating a lot of air into a mix does limit the size of ice crystals, thereby improving texture, it can also have a negative impact on ice cream quality: too much air will dissipate flavour and produce ice cream that is fluffy in texture and light in weight.
The Cuisinart also comes with a large opening in the lid, which allows you to easily pour in your mix and add any mix-ins during the churning process.
My only criticism
My only criticism is that the dasher does not get close enough to the side of the bowl to scrape off any ice cream that freezes there during the churning process. This results in a layer of ice cream frozen to the side of the bowl. In theory, this can have a negative effect on the quality of the ice cream as the layer of ice cream frozen to the side of the bowl acts as an insulator, slowing the release of heat from the mix to the bowl, and increasing the time it takes to freeze the mix. The longer it takes to freeze the mix, the larger the ice crystals grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.
I use my thumb to push the dasher against the side of the bowl and make sure that any ice frozen there is scraped off. This is a bit annoying as you have to stand next to the machine with your thumb in the bowl until the mixture has frozen.
I would like to see a spring loaded dasher in a future Cuisinart model. The spring would act to firmly push the dasher against the side, preventing a layer of ice from forming there. A spring-loaded dasher is commonly found in commercial ice cream machines.
The machine finishes churning after between 20 and 25 minutes, depending on how cold the freezer was when the bowl was frozen. After 20-25 minutes, it produces a dense dry-looking ice cream that sticks firmly to the dasher. If after 25 minutes the ice cream is still runny or drops off the dasher too easily, continue churning the mix for a further 5-10 minutes. If your ice cream is still runny, or slushy-like, after 30 minutes, then it is likely that the bowl is too warm and was not properly frozen.
The ice cream comes out of the machine at about -5°C. Although it can be served directly after it has been churned, it will have a light consistency and melt relatively quickly. I recommend transferring the ice cream to a plastic container and freezing it for a further 4 hours to get the temperature down to around -15°C. At this temperature, the ice cream will have a firm, scoopable consistency and be ready to serve. If you can wait, ice cream should be eaten at below -12°C. As the serving temperature is increased from -14.4°C to -7.8°C, flavour and sweetness become more pronounced.
An issue a lot of people have with this machine is the noise level. Although the machine is relatively loud whilst it churns, I think the creamy results far outweigh the annoyance caused by the noise. I personally do not find the noise this machine makes a nuisance.
Would I recommend this machine?
So would I recommend this machine? Absolutely. Out of all the machines that I have tried, I still think the ICE-30 makes the best textured ice cream. It comes with an impressive 2 litre bowl that allows you to make about 1.5 litres at a time and, most importantly, makes excellent ice cream with low overrun and a dense and creamy texture.
I also think the machine is reasonably priced: at £67.00, it is about a quarter of the more expensive machines with an in-built compressor. If you do want to make several batches of ice cream at a time, then I would recommend the Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream Maker, which makes ice cream comparable to the ICE-30 in texture.
If you are thinking of buying your first ice cream machine, I couldn’t recommend the ICE-30 more.
Hope this review helps. Any questions, feel free to send them my way.
All the best, Ruben